Foresight is a marvellous thing to have, much better than hindsight where looking backwards is the key to learning from mistakes made.
There have been plenty of mistakes at Elland Road over the last few years, that’s for sure Sometimes it seems that the mistakes are heaped one upon the other until the whole club looks like a crochet on errors, failing and mistakes.
When it comes to the current crop of players, Leeds United don’t want to be looking back with hindsight and thinking ‘Do you know what, if only we…’ By then it is too late, the opportunity and likely the player in question have gone, moved on. Of course it’s not a case simply of shoving a contract under the noses of highly-regarded players and saying, “sign here, here and here please”; the club needs to do other things that convince the players they wish to keep to extend their time at Elland Road. Link in ambition and quality players brought into the side and this might be a factor influencing a player to sign an extended contract.
However, with a little foresight, here’s three players Leeds United should sign to longer-term deals.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell – goalkeeper
Peacock-Farrell has been on the bench for the majority of this season in a back-up role to current Leeds #1 since Ross Turnbull’s ankle injury and summer recruit Charlie Horton’s return to America for ‘family reasons. The 19-year-old has been catching the eye of more prestigious teams such as Premier League Everton and struggling Premier League side Aston Villa who the Star say are going to go head-to-head in a summer battle over signing the youngster.
Steve Evans has already said that the Darlington-born youngster will get his chance in the first team at some point before the end of the current season, something that will no doubt stand the club in good stead in the mind of the much-admired teenager.
Getting the young keeper to sign a new contract will be something of an imperative, seeing as his current contract expires on June 30 and that Premier League teams are already allegedly keeping tabs on the situation.
Charlie Taylor – left back
York-born 22-year-old Taylor graduated from the much-vaunted Leeds United Academy at Thorp Arch and his early career at Leeds was a series of loans taking in relatively local sides Bradford City (2012) and York City (2012) as well as teams further afield such as Scottish side Inverness Caledonian Thistle (2013) and Fleetwood Town (2013/14).
His first chance in the Leeds United first team came during the 2014/15 Championship season after then left-back Stephen Warnock suffered an injury, allowing the youngster to make the step up. He didn’t disappoint and after Warnock’s surprise transfer to Derby County, Taylor made the left-back spot his own – something that he has carried forward into this current campaign.
Rumours were circulating at the beginning of this season that Premier League giants Manchester United were interested in acquiring Taylor’s services, thankfully for Leeds United fans these rumours proved to be just that and no approach was made. However, given that Taylor is ever-improving and turning into a more-cultured attacking full-back (with three Championship assists to his name this season), Leeds may want to look at his current contract expiry date of June 30 2017 and seek a quick extension of terms.
Lewis Cook – midfield
Lewis Cook is possibly the biggest bundle of potential at Elland Road at this precise moment, but alongside that potential comes increased interest from other teams. It was only reported four days ago in the Sun that 19-year-old Cook, already a European Under-17 tournament winner with England, will be the subject of a summer tug-o-war between Stoke City and Everton with the transfer figure mooted to be in the region of £10m. This is piggy-backed on January interest from Premier League new boys Bournemouth who reportedly had a £5m bid turned down flat by Leeds.
Cook is away on England Under-20 duty at the moment, but has been playing with a high level of consistency in an oft-misfiring Leeds United side in this season’s Championship competition where he is forging himself a worthy reputation as a combative box-to-box midfielder. Such displays won’t go unnoticed by those teams in higher divisions, teams on the look-out for emerging English talent who have the potential to take it to the next level – Lewis Cook is one of those players.
With Cook’s current contract expiring next year on June 30, Leeds United may be tempted to up the ante a little and search for a way to encourage the young midfielder to sign a new contract that extends his time at Elland Road
The thing is should Leeds not be proactive and chase these players to longer contracts? If they don’t then these players will go elsewhere, especially when the Premier League vultures begin to circle with their chequebooks waving.